How Humor Can Save the World

Friday night was a big milestone for me. After 9 weeks of blood, sweat, and tears, I got on stage and delivered what’s considered “The First 5”. It was the first 5 minutes of my comedy act. Even though I’m on stage all the time as a professional speaker, I was super nervous. I wanted to stretch myself a bit. Push the envelope. Get out of my comfort zone.

Click on the image to watch my comedic debut!

It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. I wanted to call in sick. I thought to myself, “What if nobody laughs? What if I bomb?”

In spite of it all, I danced with the fear. People actually laughed. And it wasn’t at me, it was with me. 🙂

That 5 minutes demonstrated more than getting out of my comfort box, it was about the power of humor.

Humor brings people together. Humor breaks down barriers. Humor helps you cope through bad times. Laughter has been shown to reduce stress, boost the immune system and enhance brain chemistry through the release of endorphins.

I can’t do this research justice. Check out the TED Talk from my mentor and friend, neuro-humorist Karyn Buxman. During this outstanding clip, she dives into just how powerful humor can be in our daily lives and how it may even be able to change the world.

How Humor can Change the World



What Adventure Will You Take?

Have you ever started out on an adventure that seemed like a good idea at the time?  

Then later you found out that you should have turned back before you started?

I felt this way a few months back. I was in Phoenix, AZ for a conference. I was sharing a room with Lila, who is a health and fitness guru. She knew that I wanted to get into shape and start my fitness journey. Lila is an avid and experienced hiker.

For the longest, I’ve heard Lila rave about the high she received from climbing Camelback Mountain. When you make it to the summit, 2,704 feet above sea level, the payoff is a picturesque view of the valley.

Click on the photo to watch a fun video that Lila and I made about our adventure on Camelback Mountain

After doing a little research online, I learned that Camelback Mountain is regularly ranked one of the nation’s top hiking destinations for avid hikers. The range consists of two main trails, Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail; both of which are rated Extremely Difficult and subject hikers to steep elevation gains, very rugged terrain, and the harsh elements associated with the Sonoran Desert. Only experienced hikers with adequate preparation, during optimal weather,  should attempt to hike to the summit. So I brought up that last point to Lila. And she said, in only the way, Lila can: “ You can do! Just give it a try.”  So I decided to jump in with both feet.

At 5:00am, long before the sun was up, we were at the start of the trail. Knowing that I would be super slow, I told Lila to run up ahead of me.  Within 15 minutes, I realized I had met my match. Lila was nowhere in sight. It was one of the toughest physical activities I’ve ever done. The terrain was rocky and rough. As I made my way up the mountain, it seemed like everyone was passing me including this fragile old lady. After about 30 minutes, I came to a clearing in the mountain and could watch the sunrise. I received a text from Lila, who was almost to the summit. She recommended that I stop at the point that I made it to. It was a good stop and the degree of difficulty would only increase.

Sounds like good advice. Right? Right.

Do you think I took it? Wrong.

My ego got in the way. And I proceeded to move to the next step up the mountain.

I thought I met my match before but that was nothing compared to the next section of the mountain. I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. Before I knew it, I started slipping off the trail.  I thought I was going to tumble down the mountain backward. All I could think to myself was, “ I have to make it back home to Mr. Brown”. After that, I talked some sense into myself and started to come back the steepest part of the mountain on my butt.

At first, I was really disappointed that I didn’t make it to the summit. But after making it back to the base, I realized that it wasn’t about making to the summit. It was about getting started.

Here are the lessons from that experience:

  1. Just do it.
  2. Go with a buddy.
  3. Know your limits.
  4. Have the right equipment for the job.
  5. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

What is trust, really?

I was kicking back watching one of my new guilty pleasures, Soul School on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). She has some fascinating guests who are “life experts” on her show. Everyone from Michael Beckwith, star of the movie “The Secret” to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

One expert particularly peaked my attention, the extraordinary Brene Brown. I know what you’re thinking, and no we are not cousins.

Brene Brown is a research professor, author and celebrated orator of one of the most viewed TED Talks in history.

During her time on the Soul School stage, she talked about the true essence of trust.  

Glued to the screen—I couldn’t peel my eyes away because she asked some very key questions:

  • What does it mean to trust someone?
  • What does it mean to trust yourself?

She broke down her world-renowned research.

Brene opens with a story about her daughter and how her trust was breached as a 3rd grader by a group of school friends.

As she consoled her daughter, she struggled with giving a definition of what it means to trust. The analogy she used was great: “Trust is like a marble jar”. You share those hard stories or situations with those friends and you fill up your marble jar. You’ve shared thing after thing with them and you know you can trust them.

Do you have marble jar friends?

Trust is often thought associated with a big grand gesture at a pivotal time in our lives. Brene’s research argues the opposite. Trust is built in small ways with micro-actions over time.

We trust those family and friends whose jars are full—people who have formed “trust” moments with us.

In her description of trust, she used a great acronym, she calls B.R.A.V.I.N.G.

B..R.A.V.I.N.G. is the anatomy of trust. It stands for:  Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-Judgment and Generosity.

Boundaries — Trust does not exist without boundaries. I know where you stand. You know where I stand. We respect those lines.

Reliability — Trust can only be present when you hold fast to your word I can count on you doing what you say you will do, over and over again.

Accountability — I trust you when you make a mistake and you’re willing to own it, apologize for it and make amends and in return you will allow me to do the same.

Vault —  Keeping confidences. What I share with you, you will hold in confidence and what you share with me, I will hold in confidence.

Integrity — Brene’s defines integrity as choosing courage over comfort; choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and putting those values to practice, not just professing your values aka giving lip service.

Non-Judgment — We can both struggle and ask for help. I can fall apart ask for help and not be judged.

Generosity — Our relationship is only a trust relationship if we can assume the most generous thing about each others’ words, intentions and behaviors without checking in with each other. 

Using and understanding this framework, we can better identify and communicate when we are in need of more trust or when we are hurt. This creates a healthy conversation with our loved ones.  Even better, this could provide a common understanding and lingo.  

Yet, the most important trust relationship is with ourselves. We must trust ourselves.

BRAVING is about connection. Self-trust is BRAVING self-love, self respect, the wildest connection we will ever take in our entire lives.

Do you truly trust yourself?  Trust starts with ourselves. Our own marble jar must be full.  Essentially, we can’t give to others what we don’t have, and others can’t give us what they don’t have.

This totally shifted my perspective and challenged me on what it means to truly trust.

I’d love to hear you weigh in on this.  Leave your thoughts below.